A leading supplier of bar and restaurant furniture, lighting and interior accessories to brands including Jamie’s Italian and Marks & Spencer has made a significant investment to transform its IT and communications infrastructure.

Andy Thornton has turned to Technology Services Group (TSG) to help develop and deploy an end-to-end solution covering everything from telecoms, connectivity and applications to infrastructure and support for the ongoing evolution of the business and future growth.

Established in 1975, Andy Thornton offers extensive ranges of contract quality furniture, decorative lighting, bar accessories, architectural antiques, retail display furnishings and visual merchandising props to customers all over the world, including other well-known UK brands such as JD Wetherspoon and Morrisons.

Tim Berry, IT manager at Andy Thornton, which is based near Halifax, said: “We knew that our on-premise Exchange servers and XP machines needed replacing, so it made sense to explore the potential for efficiencies that a modern approach can bring.”

Having worked with Technology Services Group since 2007, when they deployed Microsoft SharePoint, the company once again turned to the national IT services specialists, which has 12 regional offices including headquarters in Gosforth.

The outdated telephone system has been replaced with a cost-effective and feature-rich Mitel MiVoice Office and data connectivity has been upgraded with EFM (Ethernet in the First Mile) cabling providing both the platform and the service levels required for deploying cloud-based Microsoft Office 365.

Paul Burns, TSG’s national technical director, who recommended Microsoft Office 365, said: “It was clear that a hybrid solution would meet Andy Thornton’s requirements. By moving a proportion of the existing workload into the cloud, we were able to consolidate the rest on to a single computer in the office running Windows Server 2012.

“Office 365 effectively has a degree of disaster recovery built in, so to complement this an automated online backup solution has been deployed to protect all of the business’s other sensitive data, and security has also been upgraded with the Sophos Endpoint solution.”

Paul added: “Office 365 offers a flexible and scalable solution for Andy Thornton, and with a modern IT platform now in place the business is well placed to explore how they can use technology to grow and achieve further efficiencies.”

Tim said the new set up had clear advantages: “The hybrid cloud approach is already paying dividends both in terms of cost and operational efficiencies. We’ve reduced the amount of hardware we need and as a subscription service Office 365 offers a fixed monthly cost.

“New starters to the business can be set up easily with additional licence keys and small increase to the monthly cost. And for the first time ever, everyone in the business is now using the same version of Microsoft’s various tools.”

The company is continuing to work with TSG on the provision of Microsoft Dynamics CRM to take advantage of its seamless integration.